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Activities & Transport
- Wildlife Watching
- Bird Watching
- Traditional Medicine
- Photography Workshop
- City Tour
- Meet the Locals
- Car with driver
Main travel focus
South India: Tamil Nadu, Kerala & Backwaters
- Overnight on a backwater Houseboat
- Ayurvedic Spa that offers all kinds of massages and alternative treatments
- Eravikulam National park & Mattupatti Dam
- Dutch Palace, Jewish Street, Fort Cochin Chinese fishing net, St. Francis Church
South East Coast :
The state of Tamil Nadu incorporates most of this area. Not lacking simply beautiful beaches and imposing fort-like temples, this area simply abounds in temples with some of the most exquisite stone carvings around; the French colonial town of Pondicherry, along with a perfect beach getaway at a secluded Mahabalipuram resort.
South West Coast :
Kerala is India's most popular eco-friendly tourism centre by far. Immensely popular for Ayurveda and meditation, the south-west coast boasts a bevy of beautiful, naturally formed lagoons. A houseboat stay here will prove to be one of the biggest charms of the entire tour. Cochin, the cultural centre of South India, is greatly influenced by the former presence of the Portugese and French, as is attested to by its fine architecture. The picture-perfect beaches of Mararikulam, Varkala, Kovalam and Poovar are a tantalising treat, and a wonderful way to forget all about the stress of everyday life!
- Hotels Mentioned or Similar
- Daily Breakfast
- Transfers, Sightseeing and Excursions by private A/C transport
- English speaking local guide in Chennai, Maurai & Cochin
- Entrance to the Monuments as per program
- All applicable taxes
- Tips for Hotels, Guides or Drivers
- Visa & Insurance Fees
- Domestic Airfares
Example Trip to customize
Welcome to the Cultural Capital
Upon arrival, you'll be cheerfully meet-and-greeted and transferred to your luxurious hotel, which will do particularly well for tonight's sleep.
Thanks to its deep-rooted traditions and long history, Chennai is dubbed the cultural capital of India; and is a true reflection of this country's enormous diversity. Today, this city flourishes as a charming and warmly welcoming city. This city encourages all forms of development, both modern technology and the traditional arts and crafts, and is big enough to happily embrace a series of paradoxes.
Do Chennai like it should be done
Say good morning to Chennai with a rather tasty breakfast; and continue such good-natured greetings during the following guided city tour.
This tour will be packed with plenty of attractions, let's mention St. George Fort, a symbol of the bygone days of the British Raj, built by the notorious British East India Company back in 1653 for starters - then there's always the High Court Building, Marina beach, Theosophical Society, Calluvar Kottam, and Mgr Film City just for good measure. All this intensive sightseeing will make your hotel bed seem even more inviting tonight.
Mahabalipuram's uniquely beautiful sculptures
Today is devoted to a diverting drive to Puducherry, which will include a cheeky visit to Mahabalipuram while you're at it.
Why Mahabalipuram? Well, no reason in particular. Well, that is if visiting the Five Rathas' Arjuna's Penance, only the largest relief carving on earth, is no reason in particular. There's the small matter of the slightly fabulous Mahishamardini Mandapa, Talasayana Perumal, and Seashore Temples over that way to consider, as well. So, no reason in particular.
Mahabalipuram was once the busy second capital of the Pallava kings of Kanchipuram. This now-tiny seaside village is dramatically set in a boulder-strewn landscape. The sculptures here are of particular interest, as they depict scenes of day-to-day life, in contrast with most of those in Tamil Nadu, whose carvings are generally concerned with ethereal gods and goddesses. Mahabalipuram art can be divided into four categories: open air bas-reliefs, structured temples, man-made caves and rathas ('chariots' or temples carved from single boulders). The famous Arjuna's Penance in question, as well as the Krishna Mandapa adorn massive rocks right near the village's centre.
After all that art, it's time to get driven to your Pondicherry hotel, where a delightful slumber in this artful, French-influenced town beckons.
It's Trichy, Trichy, Trichy
After a sumptuous breakfast, it will be time for a nice morning jaunt to Trichy, with an en-route stop at Thanjavur, aka Tanjore. Here, a guided city sightseeing tour will make sure you don't miss anything, checking the boxes of Thanjavur palace, the Art Gallery, Museum Hall, and the Schwartz Church just for starters.
Tanjore was the capital of the Chola Kings, and it is famous today for the beautifully designed and built temples they left behind, as well as the amazing bronze works the people of this town create to this day. It's also a centre for such classical arts as dance and music.
Next, it's time to be off to Trichy.
Trichy. Tiruchi. Tiruchirappalli. This town goes by more names than the Artist Formerly Known as Good, and is situated on the banks of the Cauvery river in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, and is proud home to a rich cultural heritage. A bustling commercial centre, Trichy is renowned for its khadi industries, diamonds, cigars, hand-woven cloth and glass bangles. It's also widely-known for its many educational institutions, industries, and temples. Your hotel here tonight will be your own personal temple to the God of Sleep.
Three temples in one
After a totally rocking breakfast, it's time to visit Srirangam temple and the Rock Fort temple. The latter is actually a collection of three temples: the Manikka Vinayakar temple at the foot of the hill, the Uchhi Pillayar Koyil near the top, and the Taayumaanavar Koyil (Shivastalam) commanding the view from right on top. Shivastalam is a temple completely cut out of rock, and takes the crown as the most remarkable landmark in a Tiruchirappalli that doesn't lack the remarkable. After rocking on in such a satisfactory manner, it's time to rock on over to Madurai.
Madurai, Tamil Nadu's second-largest population centre, is known as the Temple City, being home to the celebrated Meenakshi Temple. Situated on the banks of river Vaigai, it derives its name from the divine nectar (Madhu) that was showered from the locks of Lord Shiva according to a popular legend.
You will have your evening free to shower your own locks, or whatever other lordly activity you deem appropriate.
A divine day of palaces and temples
Take a lordly breakfast at your leisure before taking your camera and sense of awe to the Tirumalai Nayak Palace complex, whose architecture represents a classic fusion of Dravidian and Islamic styles. The building you see today was the main Palace where the king lived - the original complex was four times bigger than the present massive structure. It's for reasons like this that the palace is considered to be one of the wonders of the South.
Your day of wonder continues in the afternoon when you finally visit the Meenakshi temple, with its exquisitely carved towers dedicated to a Goddess, who, due to a bizarre consequence, is also named Meenakashi. This temple complex is actually made up of twin temples, dedicated to Shiva and Meenakshi respectively; each one around nine storeys in height. Night will be spent recalling these spectacular edifices back at the hotel.
Escape to the beach in Kovalam
This morning, a trip to the beautiful beach resort near Kovalam is in order. The drives through Kerala are pretty long, but this is actually a good thing: you'll get a chance to get your breath taken away by the luscious tropical scenery around you. This is the most famous beach in Kerala - maybe because it's the most beautiful as well. The best thing about this area is that it hasn't become a mass tourism magnet, unlike some Goa beaches that could be mentioned. There are fantastic restaurants on the beach, where you can enjoy fresh seafood while tranquilly gazing out at the deep blue sea.
Your dream resort is a few beaches away from Kovalam itself and is thus a quietly secluded spot. It's called Nellikunnu beach - don't tell anybody else this secret - and is only 10 minutes by taxi or auto-rickshaw from the main beach. There is a traditional Ayurvedic Spa that offers all kinds of massages and alternative treatments. Your cabin is decorated stylishly with generous lashings of teak. All of this will make your hotel sleep tonight as profound as is humanly possible.
Beach relax as only you know how
Today has been left free for you to choose your own adventure. Swimming here comes highly recommended: the water is bath-warm and deepens gradually. There are plenty of stands on the beach to indulge in a bit of retail therapy; they also feature outrageously delicious food. If all this sounds a bit too strenuous for you, a simple lie in a hammock with a good book wouldn't be too shabby a decision.
If, inexplicably, you do get a bit stir-crazy, there's always the option to go for a day trip to Kanyakumari, the southern-most point of India. Or, get right into the proper reeeeelax mode by treating yourself to a traditional ayurvedic massage.
A houseboat experience like no other
Right, this morning you'll be on a Houseboat! It will certainly be a big blue watery road once you drive to Alleppey and board for a unique experience through Kerala's narrow canals and backwaters. Bamboo poles, coconut fibre ropes, bamboo mats: everything that goes into the making of these beautiful vessels is as eco-friendly as a greenpeace convention. Don't let that scare you though: these houseboats also provide all the comforts: beds, kitchen, western-style toilets and an upper deck like a boss. Traditional lanterns are used as lights.
The cuisine is of traditional Kerala flavour combined with local specialties: fish and prawns fresher than any daisy. Cruising on a boat through remote tribal villages along the tranquil backwaters of Kerala is an experience you'll be able to brag about for the rest of your life.
Sensational in its own silent way, the cruise takes you along snake boat docks, friendly cheering villagers, coir (Jute) making communities, toddy (local spirit) shops, fishing nets pitched for the day's catch, paddy fields and manual canoes of different sizes criss-crossing each other - and on into the most beautifully untouched areas of the country.
Standard Accommodation: HOUSE BOAT
Comfort Accommodation: HOUSE BOAT
Luxury Accommodation: HOUSE BOAT
A drive through incomparable beauty
After living it up on a boat, it will be back to more down-to-earth transportation with a scenic drive to Munnar, a hill station at the confluence of three mountain streams, with picninc spots as amazing as you're likely to imagine. The drive makes its way past beautiful streams with small waterfalls; rubber, pepper, cardamom and tea plantations; and thick forests all of the most incomparable beauty. Check it all out, and then check into your Munnar hotel for a sleep of your dreams.
All of Munnar's picturesque sights
After a dreamboat of a breakfast, catch all the sights of Munnar with a tour which will include such highlights as Eravikulam National park and Mattupatti Dam. Sights so incredible that you're bound to say: "Dam! That's good!" The evening will see you back at your hotel, which may be more difficult to make a pun out of, but is still pretty good.
Cochin's Kathakali Dance Spectacular
Cochin calls today. You'll be driven to this city, Kerala's commercial capital, which happens to have one of the finest natural harbours in the world - so fine it's dubbed the Queen of the Arabian Sea.
In the afternoon, you'll make a visit to the Chinese Fishing Nets to learn all about this phenomenon; while in the evening you'll be able to take in a Kathakali Dance performance. This is a highly stylised classical Indian dance-drama noted for the attractive make-up of characters, elaborate costumes, detailed gestures and well-defined body movements presented in tune with the anchor playback music and complementary percussion. Be prepared: it's quite the spectacular.
In the evening, sink into a highly stylised and classical sleep at your well-defined hotel.
After an elaborate breakfast, it's time for a visit to the Dutch Palace, Jewish Street, and St. Francis Church, before a good sleep at your attractive hotel.
Note: - The Dutch Palace closes on Fridays and National holidays, and the Jewish Synagogue on all Fridays and Saturdays.